We are each special in our own way

REVIEWED BY Ashwini Vethakan

Finding something the whole family can watch these days has become a perennial challenge. That being said, there were quite a few gems that did come out in 2020 such as Raya and the Last Dragon, and every Marvel movie known to man.

We have Disney to thank for this endless source of child friendly entertainment; and we need to thank them yet again for this spectacular, colourful masterpiece.

Encanto is a new animation and like many of its predecessors, it will be seen at just about every child’s birthday party theme till the end of this year!

This latest Disney animation narrates a magical Colombian tale of a family that received special powers after surviving a tragedy. They live together in a magical house and each member develops his or her own gift – such as the ability to control the weather, shapeshift into other people and talk to animals.

Their casita or small house responds to the family’s requests and their moods. Each bedroom is magically tailored to the occupant’s needs and his or her magical gift… all except for one: Mirabel (voiced by Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz), whose bedroom is the nursery.

The story’s feel-good message is that you don’t need to have an obvious super power or talent to be special because we’re all special in our own way.

Instagram and TikTok saw multiple trends for the Encanto movie, because of its message and novel style of animation. Each character is so developed that children (and even some adults) discovered representation through the cartoon.

Encanto follows Mirabel as she questions her ‘untalented’ role in her magical family while also looking for her uncle who disappeared many years ago. Her quest for answers leads to many issues – the main problem being that the family’s casita is on the verge of breaking down and in turn, each family member’s super power is beginning to slowly deteriorate.

Knowing how every Disney and Pixar animation isn’t complete without its own special soundtrack, we were excited to see what the latest Disney movie had to offer. But unfortunately, the musical numbers in Encanto are, for the lack of a better word, ‘shrug-worthy.’

While composer and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda knocked it out of the park with In The Heights and Moana, Encanto’s music was lacklustre and rather lazy.

We think this works well for kids of five or six years since it’s more the tune than the actual lyrics that captivates them – at least, that’s the only explanation we have as to how the soundtrack hit the number one spot on the billboard charts.

But what it lacks in music, the cartoon makes up for in colour, story, animation and set design for which directors Jared Bush and Byron Howard (Zootopia), and co-director Charise Castro Smith (Raya and the Last Dragon), deserve applause.

Encanto is a kindhearted movie about a misfit trying to do the right thing. What’s most notable is that for the first time, there’s no villain in a Disney movie. Instead, there’s an obscure ‘unknown,’ which threatens the family and their home.

The conflict is minimal at best and this enables Mirabel to spend more time learning about what she can do despite her lack of powers. But it also leaves the movie meandering somewhat. This could be because our millennial brains are used to seeing plenty of action on screen especially in a Disney movie.

Nevertheless, Encanto does possess the super power of every other Disney movie and ‘gets us in the feels’ every time.

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